As fires continue to rage, some in Montana are calling for fundamental changes in government forest management policies. That sentiment is being echoed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Zinke was a guest on the Northern Broadcasting Network’s radio program Voices of Montana Tuesday. Just he came on, host Jon Arneson took a call from a longtime listener.
"Lets go to Diane in Marion, Montana on line 2. Diane?"
Diane complains about a scratchy throat from nearby wildfires before she begins describing her present grievances with government policies. She blames environmentalists, who she describes as being, "So adamant about keeping our air and water clean to the point where they have shut down the use of coal, woodstoves in the winter, and many other insane regulations."
Zinke agrees, saying that environmentalists are doing harm, and calling for, "active forest management," and asking for, "a little help from my congressional friends to do it."
"You go into Glacier, there’s trees everywhere," Zinke says. "And I’m not proposing we log Glacier, but other parks do use prescribed burns, they have mechanical extraction of timber, just to remove the fuel load."
Zinke also called for changes to EPA regulations to make things easier for America’s coal industry.